New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said is getting 1,000 lifesaving ventilators from China to aid in its battle against the new coronavirus threatening to overwhelm New York City hospitals.
The state of Oregon is also sending 140 ventilators to New York where thousands of new COVID-19 infections are confirmed daily, Cuomo said during a press briefing, according to USA TODAY.
“This is a big deal, and it’s going to make a significant difference,” Cuomo said, calling the redistribution of ventilators a key to saving more lives in New York and across the globe.
“We’re all in the same battle here, and the battle is stopping the spread of the virus,” he said.
The 1,000 ventilators from China were expected to arrive Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The Chinese government facilitated the effort connected to Alibaba, the massive online retailer in China, Cuomo said.
The news came as the coronavirus death toll in New York mounted, hitting 3,565 as of Saturday morning, up from 2,935 the day before. The state had 113,704 confirmed cases, up about 10,000 from Friday.
The newly announced delivery of 1,000 was achieved in part through the efforts of Alibaba co-founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, who is also owner of the Brooklyn Nets, according to Cuomo.
It is all part of the race to secure the roughly 30,000 ventilators that New York is expected to need if COVID-19 cases continue to surge in coming days, Cuomo said, adding that the apex of the outbreak in New York City is expected within the next seven to 21 days.
Cuomo, a Democrat, warned Thursday that the state could run out of ventilators within six days and as projections have estimated New York might have 16,000 deaths by the time the virus runs its course.
“Part of me would like to be at the apex and let’s do it…but we’re not yet ready for the apex yet,” Cuomo said Saturday. “We’re still working on the capacity of the system.”
Oregon’s state officials announced they would send 140 ventilators to New York without being asked, Cuomo said, calling it an “astonishing and unexpected” show of support between the two states.
He added the move underscored Oregon officials understanding that New York would return the favor if and when the virus hits Oregon, which is projected to see its peak sometime in May.
“They see the fire spreading,” he said, referring to the virus and Oregon’s efforts to stop its spread “before it gets to (their) home.”
Further, Cuomo said he will sign an executive order that will allow the National Guard to go to hospitals and health-care facilities to take unused ventilators and other medical supplies so they can be used downstate.
“I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redistribute ventilators,” Cuomo said Friday.
The plan involves taking 20% of the unused ventilators from upstate, meaning about 500 breathing machines will be heading downstate.
Cuomo said the state will either bring the ventilators back when they are finished being used or the state will pay the facilities for new ones.
The goal is not to leave other facilities without any equipment, just no excess equipment, he said.
Meanwhile, New York lawmakers voiced concerns about President Donald Trump’s failure to act swiftly to ramp up the production of ventilators.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle, D-N.Y., addressed the ongoing debate over President Donald Trump’s approach to using wartime powers to force U.S. companies to produce more ventilators and other medical supplies.
“I am deeply distressed that President Trump’s failure to invoke the Defense Production Act in a timely manner, provide adequate testing, and supply our communities with personal protective equipment,” Morelle said. “This has put New York State in this extraordinarily difficult position.”